The All Progressives Congress, APC, has hit back at the governor of Zamfara State, Bello Matawalle, describing his allegations against his predecessor, Abdulaziz Yari, as baseless and unfounded.
On Thursday, Mr Matawalle said his predecessor’s visits to the state often result in bloodshed.
APC, however, at press confereence Saturday, cautioned Mr Matawalle to be careful with his utterance and accord respect to Mr Yari, in view of the fact that he is a responsible leader with plausible achievements in the state.
According to the party, Mr Yari’s achievements cannot be matched by what his successor is currently doing.
Below is the full text of the conference:
As members of the APC Publicity Committee, our attention has been drawn by certain utterances in Governor Bello Matawalle’s comments and would like to respond to some vital issues raised by him.
This is why we deemed it necessary to call for this International Press Briefing to address you on the issues.
His Excellency the Governor of Zamfara state Hon Bello Mohammed Matawallen Maradun stated in his utterances that His Excellency the former Governor Abdulaziz Yari has been engaging bandits in series of meetings through which the bandits were mobilized to attack various communities in the state.
Let me on behalf of the former Governor and members of the APC Publicity Committee, categorically state here that, the former Governor Abdulaziz is a man of proven integrity, highly respected and responsible leader whose mission is always to improve the well-being of his people.
He is such a committed and devoted Muslim who is versatile in Islamic knowledge and knows very well, the punishment provided in the hereafter for anybody who takes or aids in taking someone’s life.
So, there is no how a religious and knowledgeable person like former governor who led a state for a period of eight years would bring himself so low, so cheap, to be instigating criminals against the people.
Secondly, in case Matawalle has forgotten or did not know, the former Governor has never been to any village or town in Zamfara state, including Gusau, the state capital since he left office on May 29, 2019, except his hometown Talata Mafara. This is with a view to avoiding any incident that will lead to the breach of public peace.
Governor Matawalle should know that he did not win election; he has no mandate of the people and should also know that the people gave their mandate to APC and that former Governor Yari is the leader of the party in the state.
He should know that the party has large followership in all the nooks and crannies of the state and denying the people meeting their leader is a gross denial and violation of the constitutional rights of the people.
The former Governor was so careful to even avoid going to condole with people on the loss of their loved ones, just to avoid a situation that may warrant any breach of security in the state.
Gentlemen of the press, former Governor Yari is a responsible man of the highest order that his meetings with leaders and members of his political party have always been transparent and security agents have been monitoring the meetings, including his entire visits to the state.
I therefore wonder how, when and where such meetings with bandits took place in Zamfara state or even beyond.
Again, Governor Matawalle said in both his public comments and the BBC interview that he noted that whenever the former Governor came to the state, there must be security breaches.
Gentlemen of the press, let me draw your attention to contractions by both the Governor and his Commissioner of police who leads the so-called peace initiative in the state.
The governor accused the former governor of breaching the security, while his commissioner of police recently summoned an emergency stakeholders meeting with leaders of abattoirs, cattle markets, and Meyetti Allah cattle breeders associations in the state where he vowed to deal decisively with any one indulging himself in nefarious business that leads to the resurfacing of banditry activities in some parts of the state.
During the meeting, the commissioner of police alleged that some rustled cattle markets exist in various parts of the state, and that if this illegal business persists, it would surely disrupt the ongoing peace process in the state.
Matawalle claims to have solved security challenges in Zamfara state, but people are just being deceived by the government.
Let me remind the Governor, in case he forgot when he briefed another gathering of stakeholders in his so-called peace initiative that the peace process was not working. In fact, the Governor went further to read the list of days, times and communities attacked by bandits during that meeting, as well as expressed fear and frustration of the refusal by bandits to adhere to the terms and conditions of the so-called peace agreement.
The governor revealed to the leaders of the repentant bandits in the state that and I quote “I am calling on the leaders of repentant bandits in the state to warn their people against what they are currently doing to people across the state after they have embraced the peace deal initiated by our government. They should also remember that they must account before their creator, whatever they are doing.
“It is on our records that on the 23rd of October, 2019, at about 5 Pm, these repentant bandits carrying AK47 rifles attacked people in two villages of Kunchin Shaya and Yar Tsakuwa, all in Kunchin Kalgo ward of Tsafe local government area and destroyed their farm produce and moved away freely.
“On the 27th of October, 2019, these bandits who earlier renounced their ugly act, attacked people of Bawar Daji village in Anka local government area where they stole their cows and destroyed their farms.
“Again, on the 29th of October, 2019, the same repentant bandits attacked people in Tungar Nasarawa, Kuwala and Mashema Vilages in Zurmi local government area and also destroyed their farm produce and their farms.
“Still, on the 1st of November, 2019, these repentant bandits between 1: 00 to 4: 00 pm holding a number of AK 47 Riffles also attacked people of Kukoki Village of Yanwaren Daji in Tsafe local government area and in the cause; they stole their cows and destroyed their farms.
“On the 2nd of November, 2019, these repentant bandits also attacked people of Kungurki Village in Kaura Namoda local government and carried away their cows and destroyed their farms.
“On the 3rd of November, 2019, around 11 pm, the same repentant bandits attacked people of Bingi Village in Maru local government area and destroyed their farms and moved away.
“Still on the 4th of November, 2019, the repentant Fulani bandits attacked people of Mashema village in Zurmi local government area and destroyed their farm produce and around 12 am of the same day, they attacked people of Marken Yamma village of Yanwaren Daji of Tsafe local government area and executed the same ugly act on the people.
“On the 9th of November, 2019 at about 12 am, these repentant bandits attacked people of Kanoma Village of Maru local government area and destroyed their farms. “
These are just but a few out of the many ugly attacks being carried out on daily basis in various parts of the state.
In view of the above, therefore, I challenge Governor Matawale to prove to the world that the former Governor Yari visited the state on these days that the bandits attacked those communities. Henceforth, these are baseless and unfounded allegations against the personality of the former governor, which I consider as sign of directionless of the governor’s administration.
I therefore want to use this opportunity to draw the attention of the Governor to mind his business of governance so as to be able to attain some levels of achievement rather than shifting blame for his failure.
When Governor Abdulaziz Yari was governor of Zamfara state, he closed his eyes and ears to opposition and allowed them the freedom of speech, association, movement and choice, without molestation or humiliation, in spite of series of campaign of calumny by members of the opposition then, including Matawalle and his supporters. Many a times, His Excellency the former Governor was portrayed negatively, including photo shopping the former Governor to look like donkey, prostitute, and even extended the campaign of calumny against his parent. However, he was so focused, committed and determined to work assiduously to achieve the lots of the legacies he left behind on ground which the people of Zamfara can bear witness.
The Governor also raised an issue on the former Governor Abdulaziz Yari’s movement, particularly coming to his hometown to visit his family and cronies.
It is very unfortunate and shameful to note that, despite his long stay in the House of Representatives as member, he could not differentiate between Governor’s power and the power of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
However, in case Governor Matawalle does not know, the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has granted every citizen the rights to live, to associate and the right of choice, so long the rights of other citizens are not tempered with.
As a bonafide citizen of Nigeria and an indigene of Zamfara state who served the state meritoriously, the Governor of the state has no that power to prevent the former Governor from coming home, not to talk of arresting him.
Let me draw your to yet another contradiction of the governor where he said on the state Radio Hausa Program “HAYAKI FIDDA NA KOGO” a Daily Zamfara Radio Program that he was doing his peace initiative without spending dime on the bandits. However, investigations revealed that the government of Matawalle spends over Sixty Million Naira on the bandits every month. And he claims to have solved security challenges in Zamfara state, but people are just being deceived by the government.
However, it is most unfortunate that despite the government chants that the peace initiative is successful, many bandits are roaming around various communities with about two million guns unhindered. Yet the present administration expects people of the state to keep mute. Let me state categorically that constitutional rights must be respected by any democratically elected government, but time will tell.
On another allegation made by Governor Bello Matawalle that the former Governor Abdulaziz Yari refused to honor RTD IGP MD Abubakar committee’s invitation to appear before it on issues relating to the security challenges in the state. It is true that former governor Yari did not appear before the committee. In case he forgot, it was the same Gov Matawalle who pleaded with the former gov not to interfere in any way with the affairs of his government, particularly on issues relating to security. The former gov expected Gov Matawalle to revert his plea for the former Gov to honour the committee’s invitation, but uptil the time of this press briefing there was no such reversal of the plea earlier made by the Gov.
However, members of the former Gov’s cabinet including the Secretary of the former governor’s administration, some local government chairmen honoured the invitation by the former IG’s committee.
This is verifiable as all those who attended meetings with the committee are alive. They include Prof Abdullahi Mohd Shinkafi, Bello Dankande, Sani Gwamna Mayanci, Musa Mallaha, etc.
The Gov also said in his utterances that the former Gov is envious of the achievements recorded by him. This is laughable. Let the Gov crosscheck from among the security agents including his commissioner of police who spearheaded the former Gov Yari’s peace initiative then. It took the state six good months without any security incidence in the state. Unlike the one currently being implemented by Matawale’s govt.
This is in addition to the numerous development projects executed by the former Governor Yari’s Government, ranging from educational to roads infrastructure as can be testified by many prominent Nigerian leaders who commissioned one project or another, including President Muhammadu Buhari and his vice who were in the state twice each to commission development projects.
Gentlemen of the press, it is worth mentioning that the Former Governor Abdul’aziz Yari is a right honorable gentleman who proves himself as a man of legacy as people of Zamfara State have testified.
Conclusively, Let me categorically state here that all the allegations against the former Governor Abdul’aziz Yari are baseless, unfounded and are nothing but a reflection of Governor Matawalle’s failure, misdirection in governance and total frustration resulting to lack of capacity to govern the rural state that requires massive transformation in terms of infrastructure, social well-being and the consolidation of Former Governor Abdul’aziz Yari’s legacies.